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'It's a minefield': After Bolton book, Moscow says secrets aren't safe in America

Russia's deputy foreign minister said Thursday that even the most delicate international discussions might be leaked.

Updated: June 25, 2020 - 11:22pm

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In the aftermath of John Bolton publishing his book this week, a high-ranking Moscow official on Thursday said that Russia cannot trust that confidential talks with the U.S. will remain secret.

“There is a trap now,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS. “We cannot be certain that some discussions, the delicate, confidential or trusting ones, will not suddenly become public due to some reason.” 

Ryabkov made the comments during a forum of the Primakov Readings, a series of international summits hosted by the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations.

During the June 25 forum, entitled "The USA in the Crises Swirl: Strategic Consequences," Ryabkov cited a pattern of leaked information.

“We’ve seen WikiLeaks publications, we’ve seen the Mueller probe, we’ve seen publication of transcripts of video surveillance footage, and now the Bolton memoirs,” he said.

The result, he said, is a diplomatic challenge.

“We walk the minefield, not knowing which discussion will be disseminated next time by which source,” Ryabkov said. “In the meantime, we are talking about things which, in normal circumstances — not the current chaos — would take decades to declassify.”

While the Bolton book addresses internal U.S. policy, Ryabkov said, the approach confuses him.

"I am baffled by what is going on in the American political establishment from the standpoint of living on display,” he said.

Earlier in his career, Ryabkov spent four years — from 2002 through 2006 — living in the United States while working as a counselor at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.